Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 139

Dear Mr. President,

Tonight you're having a state dinner for the President of Mexico. The First lady looks beautiful, the food sounds amazing, everything looks perfect. I'm at home, making dinner with my best friend, on one of those rainy nights that Seattle makes its reputation on. It's surreal to see the photos of the guests coming to dinner in dresses worth more than next year's tuition will cost me. I'm not dissing $10,000 gowns, or anything, but it is a clear reminder that there is an echelon of American society I'll never be a part of.

The media speculation that you're avoiding the press corps in order to dodge questions about Arlen Specter's primary defeat yesterday seems a bit hysterical, to me. I think that Specter was defeated by a better candidate, with a more solid history as a Democrat. It can be spun as part of an anti-incumbency trend, or as a failure of the White House's political mechanism, or as yet another sign that the world is going to end in 2012; I think, however, that when local or state-wide elections are described to be indicative of a national trend, voters rarely consider that when going to the polls. Pennsylvania democrats were probably voting for the candidate they thought would be best for Pennsylvania, not making a statement about national political trends. I think it was probably a mistake for the White House to endorse Specter, but I recognize that considerations of loyalty and strategy are probably more important than the media's perception that the President's endorsement isn't a magic bullett.

That being said, I think you should probably hold a press conference and let the press corps have at you. It's tedious and undignified and usually not much different from the talking points the White House is already using, but it does people good to see their President engaging with the media, and gives us the idea that you're willing to answer challenging questions. So many of us will never get an answer from you, directly, it's nice to see journalists asking for us, even if the right questions often elude them in their haste to obsess over process stories.

Respectfully yours,


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